Disclaimer: I own none of it. If I did, Booth and Bones would have at least kissed by now. Sigh.

Notes: This is my first Bones fic, and a one-shot at that, which for me is nearly unheard of. The idea came to me in the shower right after an incredibly brutal jump roping class. That has nothing to do with the story, but I find it funny. This story, however, is not. Just a warning. The title is from a Martina McBride song. I'm not a particularly religious person (the song is quite religious) but the title seemed to fit.

Spoilers: References The Soldier on the Grave. Pre-Ep for The Woman in Limbo. I saw the previews and I used my imagination to fill in the rest.

Reluctant Daughter

He'd been staring at her door for at least ten minutes. He had to make a move before the neighbors noticed and called the police. He didn't want her to be home. He wanted the light in the living room and the faint strains of music he heard to be on a timer. A security precaution he knew she'd never take.

He knocked lightly; prayed she wasn't home. Prayed to St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes. Albertus Magnus; patron saint of scientists. He reached into the recesses of his Catholic brain. St. Jane Frances de Chantal; patron saint of forgotten people. And the Blessed Mother. He sighed. Hail Mary, full of grace…

The door opened, and there she was, a look of mild surprise on her face. "Hi." He didn't respond at first and her brow knitted, could see her neurons firing behind her crystal eyes. "What's wrong?"

He was amazed at how well she knew him. Knew him after just a few months, knew him well enough to read his expressions, gestures. And now, after more than a year, knew him better than he knew himself.

And he, too, knew her in a way that defied all she believed in. She was encased behind walls of brick and mortar, each slab piled on as another part of her life was torn away. Only he knew that behind that wall was the most fragile piece of glass. He could see through her, into her – and he hated himself for the hurt he was about to cause.

"Can I come in?"

Now she knew something was wrong. The instinct she was just learning to trust – he was teaching her to trust – had just been confirmed. He never asked for anything. He just did. Unless it was something serious. And the look in his eyes – yes, catalogue this under very serious.

She nodded and he entered, walking to the living room as she shut the door behind him. He went to the stereo, a slight grin crossing his face as he recognized the Foreigner CD. She felt herself blush as she grinned, recalling that night of complete inhibition – a treat she rarely allowed herself. And then he was blown up. Another brick added. And then she was kidnapped and he saved her. Another brick taken away.

Since she had met him, they'd been in this perpetual battle of give and take, revealing bits and pieces of themselves only as needed. Each gave only to take away the other's hurt. He was a sniper, shot a man in front of that man's son. She offered him a gentle touch, a breach of her personal space that meant more to him than a thousand words.

He was back to staring at the stereo, his eyes trying to match the spin of the disc, a futile attempt to delay the inevitable.

"Booth…" she began, but didn't quite know where to go. She didn't think she'd ever seen him quite like this, so uncomfortable in his own skin, and she found she couldn't react. Couldn't find her own position in the universe without first knowing his.

He looked at her with sad eyes and she realized he was truly suffering. Without even knowing the problem, she wanted nothing more than to take the hurt away.

"Did something happen?" She turned the pages of her brain. What would affect Booth like this? A case? Something more personal? "To Parker?" she ventured.

Booth shook his head. "No, Parker's fine. Bones…" he paused and rubbed at his face. He moved to the couch and took her hand, drawing her down next to him.

"Booth, I… I'm trying to process, here, and it's a struggle without you contributing. It's obvious that something is bothering you, and I want to help, but I can't without knowing more. It's like having a skeleton with 205 bones. The missing element may be the tiniest phalange, but it's not complete without it."

He chuckled softly at her choice of metaphor. When he spoke, his voice was low and soft. "This is a lot bigger than a phalange, Bones."

"Like big like a femur big?" her logical mind deduced.

"Temperance…"

Oh no. Not the first name.

"Booth! Out with it!" Her patience had run thin. She knew she wasn't good with people, and the one person she was usually good with was dragging her in circles.

"I found out something. About your mother."

This was not the response she was expecting. She had been prepared for another tirade and the words got caught in her throat and erupted as a strangled "Oh."

The realization set in. Booth was hedging because he had bad news. There was no other logical explanation. She suddenly found it hard to breathe and damned herself for asking for his help. What was that phrase? Ignorance is bliss?

She knew with all likelihood her parents were dead. After fifteen years… it was the most logical answer. But as logical as Temperance Brennan was, she could never completely remove from herself the frightened teenager, waiting by the Christmas tree, for her parents to come home.

Booth reached for her, clasping her forearm in much the same manner as she had done for him just weeks before. She looked at his hand, felt the warmth from his touch, strong and re-assuring. She slowly breathed in and out. Mindful breath. Tried her best to find her center.

"What did you find out?" As much as she appreciated his touch, she couldn't take his mournful eyes, his nearness as he spoke the words she never wanted to hear. She stood, tears pricking at her eyes, and walked to the window, arms crossed in an effort to strengthen her own inner defenses.

"I…" No, he wouldn't say he was sorry. Knew those weren't the words she needed to hear. He stood, but moved no closer toward her. "She's dead, Tempe. We…" No, no FBI standard issued speeches, either. A heavy sigh. "She's dead."

Brennan continued to stare out the window, unmoving. "You're sure?"

"I wouldn't have come otherwise."

Someone who didn't know her like he did would have missed the change. Wouldn't have seen the slightest slump in her shoulders, hear the catch in her breath, missed the bend of her neck a half an inch forward. He longed to go to her, but knew she had to process this on her own. She had asked him to find her parents. And he had delivered. At least half delivered, and he wouldn't blame her if she hated him for it.

Another second passed, and the air felt thick with sorrow, slowing time and all those in it. Another inhale, exhale, and before he knew what was happening, she had crossed the room and thrown herself into his arms. He wrapped his arms tightly around her, his hand weaving through her hair, stroking her neck. He felt his own throat close as she emitted a sob and he hated himself for doing this to her – hated himself as much as he loved her.

He allowed her to grieve, and then to get angry; leaving his arms to pace back and forth as a heated "Why?" escaped her lips.

He did his best to explain what had happened. Did his best to soothe her, comfort her as the words sunk in.

Eventually, she tired, and collapsed against him on the couch. Her breathing slowed and he looked at her sleeping figure, cheeks still tear-stained, pressed so close to his.

He lifted her gently and carried her to bed, acquiescing at her barely coherent "Stay." As she curled into him, he stroked her back until she had fallen into a deep slumber.

He had wanted for so long to have Temperance Brennan this close to him. He just wished it hadn't come at such a cost.

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